In a path-breaking move to empower marginalised sections in rural India, the Union Government launched the Tele-Law scheme on Sunday. Under this, 1,000 trained volunteers will assist residents of rural areas in reaching legal experts via video conferencing through 500 Common Service Centres in the first phase.
A Para Legal Volunteer (PLV) — the first point of contact for the villagers — will connect the villagers to lawyers located elsewhere in the state.
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This will be done after getting a thorough understanding of their case, explaining the advice given by lawyers and assisting in further actions required, an official statement from the Law and Justice Ministry said, according to IANS.
The panel of lawyers from state capitals will be provided by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). One thousand women PLVs will be trained to mainstream legal aid services through these CSCs, to promote women entrepreneurship, empowerment and participation. These centres may also be connected to law school clinics, District Legal Service Authorities, voluntary service providers and NGOs working on legal aid.
Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who heads both the law and information technology ministries, expressed that the “Tele-Law” will fulfil their commitment to ensure access to justice and empowerment of the poor.
“I am extremely happy to have launched the Tele Law, the legal aid to poor which will be made available through the Common Services Centres. These Common Services Centres and Para Legal Volunteers will offer easy legal advice to litigants in rural India making them digitally and financially inclusive,” he said in an official statement.
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The PLVs available at the village centres for 10 days a month will not only help the applicant but also track the progress of the applicants’ cases and grievances and maintain a record with the District Legal Service Authority every week.
The pilot project undertaken by the Ministry of Law and Justice in association with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will set the ball rolling in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at the panchayat-level in the first phase and will eventually be rolled out on a national-level soon.
This scheme is a continuation to the Access to Justice Project for Marginalised Persons, which is being implemented by the Department of Law and Justice and the United Nation Development Programme since 2008.